Sunday, October 27, 2013

Now they’re man and wife

So now my parents, Gordon and Geraldine (Martin) Levy, are man and wife.  Let the party begin!

Grooms Attendants

Here’s the happy groom and his groomsmen.  My dad is in the middle toasting with his brother and best man, Robert Levy.  I know the names of the others but I’m not sure who is who.  Those in the picture are:  Keith Miller, Sheldon Lewis, John Hammell, Horace Chandler, Joseph Connolly, Herb Harband, and Bud Richter.  If I had to guess I’d say Joseph Connolly is third from the left and Keith Miller is second from the right.  I’ll have to go through old yearbooks to see if I can identify these fellows.

And here’s the bridal party.

Bridal Attendants
Bridal Attendants 2

Left to right:  Sandra Dick, Jody Renner, Geraldine Martin Levy, Dona Jean Adams, Patricia O’Farrell.  I was able to find Dona Jean in the Stanford annual pretty quickly but didn’t find Patricia – I’m not sure if O’Farrell was her maiden or married name.  I do know that Jody Renner was married so I’ll need to figure out what her maiden name was.

And I love seeing the receiving line, which is something that doesn’t seem quite as popular these days.

Receiving Line

I love how my parents are looking into each other’s eyes – they were so in love!

 Receiving Line 2

Left to right:  Sandra Dick, Dona Jean Adams, Patricia O’Farrell, Jody Renner, Geraldine (Martin) Levy, Gordon Levy, Sigmund Levy, Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy, Clara (Fitzgerald) Hunter.

A few things come to mind as I look at this group.  I always knew my grandfather, Sig Levy, was short but geez, he really was!  My dad was only about 5-9” and my grandmother was only about 5-4” and he is dwarfed by both of them.  I’m guessing he was only about 5’1” which is proof that he is the cause of the “Levy curse”.   I remember reading a letter that Loraine wrote to him as he was training to be a Flying Cadet and she made a comment about him sitting on a pillow while he flew :-)

Although my mother’s step-father, Sheldon Hunter, walked her down the aisle, neither he nor her biological father, Earle Martin, participated in the receiving line.  And where was Robert Levy, my dad’s brother?

Here’s the next pages of the Bride’s Book.

Brides Photograph Grooms Photograph

Just Married

Wow, her father, Earle Martin, isn’t even mentioned.  If I didn’t know better I’d think he wasn’t living at the time.

Gordon Monterey

My mom wrote “Taken on our honeymoon – in front of Montery [sic] Harbor on September 4, 1950. 

I’ve always known they spent their honeymoon in Monterey and Carmel but it wasn’t until today that it hit me – they spent their honeymoon in the city where my grandmother grew up.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My favorite page!

As a young girl, I loved looking through my parents’ wedding albums and tried to imagine what it must have been like.  When I’d get to this page, I always slowed down and took my time – this was my favorite page!

There was just so much to look at and the description was beautiful.  But the one thing that really captivated me was what was hiding inside the yellow paper – the orchid that my mother carried in her bouquet.  And here it is, 63 years later.

It really didn’t look that much different all those years ago and I’m surprised that it’s held up as well as it has considering it was just smashed between two pieces of paper.

Here’s a close up of the two pages.

Wedding Attendants 2

The Maid of Honor was Mrs. Nick Renner (Jody).  I need to figure out what Jody’s maiden name was and maybe I can connect with some of her descendants.

Best Man was Mr. Robert S. Levy – my dad’s only sibling and since my mother was an only child, the only uncle I ever had.  At some point Uncle Bobo went on to get his PhD so we always knew him as Doctor.

Bridesmaids were Dona Jean Adams and Patricia O’Farrell.  I don’t know anything about either of these women.

Flower Girl was Sandra Dick.  Sandra’s grandmother was Clara McAboy, an older sister to my great grandmother, Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald, and the wedding was held in Sandra’s parents’ home.

Others who helped with serving, etc. were Betty Bell, Norma Burkhart, Ellie Miller, Jan Richter, Lorraine Follett, Pat Davis, Sally Conley, Doris Thurber.  Norma, Lorraine, and Doris were all cousins and Pat was her future sister-in-law.

Ushers and others were:  Keith Miller, Sheldon Lewis, John Hammell, Horace Chandler, Joseph Connolly, Herb Harband, Bud Richter.  I know Keith was a childhood friend and Joe was a college friend and I met both as a child.  I’ve heard the name Bud Richter before but not sure of the relationship.

And this is the page I would really study and spent hours looking at it over the years.

Wedding Description  

It looks like Jan and Bud Richter must have saved a piece of cake for them.  

And then Mom wrote:

Could any story, photographs or description ever describe the beauty of our wedding?  Not for us for the beauty to us is partly in our minds – but mostly in our hearts for it was a day we’ll never forget.

The flowers were all white – bells of white daisies were hung with chains of draped daisies.  The aisle was marked by hurricane lamp with daisies on the stands.  My flowers were baby white orchids and stephanotis & centered with a large white orchid.

My dress was of rose point lace – long sleeves, short train, full skirt over hoops, round neck – with Gordon’s gift to me – pearls.  The fingertip illusion veil was attached to a skull cap of rose point lace & edged with seed pearls.  When we left I wore a navy gabardine suite, white with blue shoes, navy & white hat, white gloves & navy bag – with white orchid corsage.

The setting was beautiful – everything was perfect – truly an occasion we’ll always remember – our wedding day!

These pictures are probably a little out of order but it seems appropriate to put them here since they show some of the things Mom described.

Here’s the girls getting ready.

Getting ready

This is a nice look at the back of her dress and the skull cap with the veil attached.  I’m pretty sure that is Jody Renner helping with her veil and, of course, Sandy Dick is the young girl.  As we cleaned out Mom’s house a few months ago, we pulled out the wedding gown that we always knew was in the hope chest in the garage – it’s actually in pretty decent condition.  We couldn’t bear to part with it so we left it inside the hope chest and it is now home with my sister.

And here’s the flowers she described. 


And, of course, some photos showing the flowers and lamps on the aisle.  Here’s Mom with her step father, Sheldon Hunter.  I see on the guest list later in the book that her father, Earle Martin, attended along with his wife, Verda, their son Michael Martin, and Verda’s two children that Earle adopted, Paul and Pat Martin.  I wonder how he felt watching someone else walk her down the aisle.

Gerry_Shell Aisle

She looks so serious – I wonder what she was thinking at that very minute.  I know she was thrilled to be marrying the man of her dreams but you wouldn’t know it by this picture.  Check out the beautiful pearls.  I wonder if we ran across those when cleaned out her jewelry.

And no wedding would be complete without the happy couple walking down the aisle after they were pronounced man and wife!

Gordon_Gerry down the aisle

And since she described her going away outfit, here it is.

Going Away

Now that I look at that BIG corsage she’s wearing I wonder if that’s the orchid she pressed and saved all these years?  Boy do they look happy – and so stylish, too!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The big day is here!

Geraldine Martin

The big day has finally arrived – my parents’ wedding day! 

Again, many newspaper articles talked about the big day.  The next page of the book has a few included – I love how the event is described in such detail.

Wedding Day

Here’s a close up of the first article. 

Levy Martin Will Wed

The mystery of the handkerchief is solved!  The hankie I wrote about here was carried by my paternal grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy. 

And a close up of the other article.

Martin Levy Are Married

Look at that – another mention of the hankie adding that it was also carried by my great grandmother, Bertha Schwartz.  And I know that it was, indeed, 56 years prior to my parents’ wedding that my great grandparents, Bertha Schwartz and Abraham Gunzendorfer, were married on September 9, 1894.  You can read about it here

And here’s the happy couple.


It will be fun to compare the photos with the description in these articles.  Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I could have helped you with this, Mom

Family Tree Martin Family Tree Levy

The next two pages show my starting point with researching my family history – not much!  Oh Mom, I wish I’d been around in 1950 so I could helped you complete this family tree.   Here’s a close up of the first page.

Family Tree Martin

Okay, that’s a decent start.  Mom’s parents were Clara Maxine Fitzgerald and Earle L. Martin.  Check – good job Mom!  After her parents divorced in the late 1930’s, her mother remarried Sheldon Hunter so at the time of Mom’s marriage my grandmother was Clara Maxine Hunter.

Clara’s parents were Mabel Viola McAboy and Edward Francis Fitzgerald.  Got it.  And that’s all she wrote!  Was that all she knew?  I’m betting it was because when I first started this journey she didn’t seem to know much about her family at all.  I was able to fill in some of the blanks and she seemed to really enjoy hearing what I’d found while helping her fill in the blanks.  Mabel’s parents were Rebecca Waller and William Warren McAboy and Rebecca was the granddaughter of my favorite ancestor, Emery Waller.  And Edward’s (or Eddy, as we called him) parents were Julia Horgan and Matthew William Fitzgerald.  Just this week I connected with a descendant of Matthew Fitzgerald – another cousin!

Earle’s parents were Frances Maria Brooks and Robert Lewis Martin.  I don’t think Mom had any idea of their names until I started researching.  She had a copy of a book about the Martin side of her family – Some of the Descendants of Daniel Martin (1745-1829) of Laurens County, South Carolina – but I don’t think she really paid attention to the information.  Frances’ parents were Sarah Jane Miller and William J. Brooks – William was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg and Sarah later remarried and moved to Fresno.  Robert’s parents were Millicent Moore and Lewis Saxon Martin. 

And then Dad’s side of the family.

Family Tree Levy

Now surely she knew more than that!  But I’ll fill it in for her.

Dad’s parents were Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer and Sigmund Levy. 

I have had so much fun learning about Loraine as I’ve been documenting her scrapbook and transcribing the letters she and my grandfather wrote to each other from 1917-1919.  Loraine’s parents were Bertha “Birdie” Schwartz and Abraham Gunzendorfer.  Birdie’s parents were Rebecca Steen and Louis Schwartz.  And Abe’s parents were Fannie Goldstein and Ferdinand Gunzendorfer.

Sig’s parents were Goldie Benas and Herman Levy.  Goldie was the daughter of Fredericka “Frances” Wilzinski and Benjamin Benas.  And Herman was the son of…… oh shoot, I don’t know. 

I could have helped Mom with a lot if she’d only asked!  :-)